Dale Donner was missing in action Saturday, attending the wedding of his niece in St. Louis.
When a coach said they hadn’t seen Donner around, a reporter replied that he hadn’t heard the Storm coach either.
The affable Bureau Valley girls’ track coach was, however, there in spirit and close to the heart of his fellow coaches, in their own good-natured way.
Donner is widely regarded as one of the top track and cross-country coaches around in northern Illinois, able to motivate and get the best out of his athletes at Bureau Valley.
Fellow Storm coaches Nick Hartz and Don Guier, however, one-upped Donner Saturday, when they both came up with the exact same numbers on their stopwatches clocking a 200-meter dash heat.
Hartz said, “I bet Dale’s never done that before. That was pretty impressive. That doesn’t happen too often.”
Joking aside, Hartz said he missed his coaching comrade, one who’s been very influential in his coaching career.
“I’ll be honest, it’s always good to have Dale around,” Hartz said. “When I first started coaching, Dale was always that person if I ever had a question or concern or anything. I could always ask him anything. He keeps it pretty light-hearted. He’s always good for one or two laughs a meet.”
“He would like to be here, because he likes to see the kids do well.”
Remembering Rollie: With the help of his two daughters, Mike Morris presented the trophies to the winning teams Saturday in memory of his father, the late and great Hall track coach and namesake of the Hall invitational. Morris said his dad, who coached Hall track from 1962-1993, always liked a good track meet.
Lacking a little pizzazz: Bureau Valley’s Joe Fisher made a mental note to himself Saturday morning, not feeling entirely well. He told his coaches he’d never have pizza again the night before a track meet.
Albeit with a queasy stomach, Fisher managed to finish fifth in the 400 meters.
Fast genes: When asked who’d win a 400 meter race if Bureau Valley senior Logan Hoffert met his sister, sophomore Lindsay, he said: “I think I might get her, but on a good day I think she might keep up with me a little bit.”